Cyprus updates

Arbitration & ADR

Application and interpretation of Article IV of New York Convention
  • Cyprus
  • 04 June 2020

In recent years there has been a substantial number of cases in which the courts have had to determine whether applicants seeking the recognition and enforcement of an arbitral award have complied with the requirements set out in Article IV of the New York Convention, which the Supreme Court has ruled must be strictly satisfied. The principles highlighted in this article should help to shed light on the courts' interpretation and application of Article IV.

District court examines scope of arbitration agreements and arbitrability of dispute
  • Cyprus
  • 27 February 2020

In a recent case before the Limassol District Court, the Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network applied for the recognition and enforcement of two arbitral awards which had been issued by the International Commercial Arbitration Court at the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The dispute concerned the breach of two film licensing agreements by the respondent, Trevano Pictures Limited.

Supreme Court confirms that inadequately justified arbitral award amounts to arbitrator misconduct
  • Cyprus
  • 12 December 2019

In a recent Supreme Court case, the appellant appealed against a first-instance judgment in which he had sought to annul an arbitral award. The dispute related to the non-payment of a loan granted by the respondent to the appellant and a subsequent challenge of the amount owed. Arbitration had taken place in which the arbitrator had issued his decision in favour of the respondent.

District court reaffirms narrow scope of public policy argument against recognition of arbitral awards
  • Cyprus
  • 05 September 2019

In a recent Limassol District Court case, the applicants applied for the recognition and enforcement of a London Court of International Arbitration award, which the respondents argued was contrary to Cypriot public policy pursuant to the New York Convention. This case serves as a useful reminder that the courts will rarely resort to public policy grounds to refuse the recognition of an arbitral award unless presented with cogent evidence.

Court clarifies application of Article VI of New York Convention
  • Cyprus
  • 30 May 2019

In a recent Limassol District Court case, the applicants applied for the recognition and enforcement of an arbitral award issued by the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. The case is one of the first examples of the judicial interpretation and application of Article VI of the New York Convention by the Cypriot courts and serves as a useful guide to the proper procedure to be followed by parties when invoking said article.


Corporate & Commercial

Contributed by Solsidus Law
Register of beneficial owners: information available subject to request
  • Cyprus
  • 01 February 2021

In a recent announcement by the Department of the Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver, the effective date for the commencement of data collection regarding the details of entities' beneficial owners has now moved to 22 February 2021. The final regulations governing the publication of beneficial owners' details will likely include a 'legitimate interest' requirement where legal arrangements are concerned (eg, trusts).

Key considerations when reducing a company's share capital
  • Cyprus
  • 09 November 2020

The Companies Law governs the reduction of share capital in Cypriot companies. The decision to reduce share capital rests with a company's shareholders, provided that this is also permitted by the company's articles of association. Ultimately, the courts must approve the reduction of share capital. Shareholders, creditors and other stakeholders have much to lose on an inappropriate reduction of share capital; therefore, keeping an objective eye on the whole process is wise.

Challenges when pursuing partial division of Cyprus company
  • Cyprus
  • 28 September 2020

A reorganisation by partial division has many benefits, especially in an economy where corporate reorganisations may be the sole means of survival for larger businesses and organisations. For this reason, it is important that professionals and businesspeople alike are aware of the existence of the procedure and the possible ways in which it may benefit their business.

Directors' duties in time of COVID-19
  • Cyprus
  • 06 April 2020

Directors run state hospitals, private clinics, companies and businesses that will be affected by the government's decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic and will be called on to decide the life or death of the businesses that they run. This article examines directors' duties in the face of a crisis from a corporate law perspective.

Importance of certainty in agreements: can there be room for an agreement to agree?
  • Cyprus
  • 20 May 2019

The Contracts Law provides the legal framework for establishing legally valid and enforceable agreements in Cyprus. However, in real-life commercial situations, parties may not always achieve the certainty required to ensure that an agreement or contract term is valid and enforceable. The pressure associated with reaching an agreement often causes parties to defer important contract terms in order to close a deal at the expense of certainty and, ultimately, enforceability.


Corporate Tax

Contributed by Elias Neocleous & Co LLC
Tax Department clarifies tax status of permanent establishments and legal persons during COVID-19 pandemic
  • Cyprus
  • 04 December 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the imposition of various measures on a global scale which have inevitably put restrictions on the physical presence of persons at their workplaces. This has raised concerns in relation to the permanent establishment of businesses and the tax residence status of legal persons. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development recently issued general guidelines for the interpretation of possible tax issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Protocol amending Cyprus-Russia double tax treaty ushers in new era
  • Cyprus
  • 16 October 2020

Cyprus and Russia recently signed a protocol amending the double tax treaty (DTT) between the two states. Businesses in Cyprus that will be subject to the protocol are advised to review their corporate structures and assess what impact, if any, the DTT changes will have on their overall effective tax exposure.

Cyprus and Switzerland agree updated double tax treaty
  • Cyprus
  • 14 August 2020

Cyprus recently agreed an updated double tax treaty (DTT) with Switzerland. The amendments made to the DTT focus on business profits, associated enterprises, mutual agreement procedures and benefit entitlement, and the amending protocol introduces the mandatory minimum standards of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's Base Erosion and Profit Shifting actions regarding arrangements on bilateral conventions and verbal amendments agreed bilaterally.

Tax Department's new electronic Tax Gateway service imminent
  • Cyprus
  • 17 July 2020

The Tax Department recently informed the Cyprus International Businesses Association that it expects its new electronic taxation service to be operational imminently. The Tax Gateway aims to provide a central point via which all citizens, businesses and their representatives can gain information about debts owed and payments made to the department.

Tax measures introduced due to COVID-19
  • Cyprus
  • 01 May 2020

The government has introduced a variety of tax measures intended to help taxpayers preserve their cash flows and ease the administrative burden on them during the COVID-19 health emergency. In this regard, the deadlines for payment of indirect taxes and those pertaining to tax returns have been extended.


Employment & Immigration

Expatriate relief for lower employment income earners officially extended
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC
  • Cyprus
  • 20 January 2021

The House of Representatives recently voted into law an amendment to the Income Tax Law which extends the 20% deduction previously available to expatriates who earned an annual gross employment income of less than €100,000 for an additional five years. Additionally, a provision has been inserted to ensure that the relief will apply to qualifying persons for five years from the start of employment.

Expatriate relief of 20% for lower employment income earners to be extended
  • Cyprus
  • 30 September 2020

There are numerous advantages available to expatriates who take up employment in Cyprus. For each tax year, a 50% deduction is available to those who earn employment income of more than €100,000 annually or a 20% deduction for those earning below €100,000. Applications for the 20% deduction were meant to close at the end of 2020, but a draft bill suggesting its prolongation for an additional five years has been put before Parliament.

Benefits of Cyprus Investment Programme
  • Cyprus
  • 22 November 2019

The Cyprus Investment Programme is ranked among the top 10 programmes in the world for global citizenship. It was established to attract foreign direct investment and encourage high-net-worth individuals to settle and conduct business in Cyprus, thereby boosting the nation's economy. One of the programme's key features is its investment policy, under which non-EU citizens can obtain Cypriot citizenship by making specific investments. This article examines recent amendments to the programme.


Insolvency & Restructuring

Contributed by AG Erotocritou LLC
Challenging past transactions in liquidation: fraudulent preference
  • Cyprus
  • 19 February 2021

An effective weapon in a liquidator's and creditor's arsenal to ensure the fair and equal treatment of all creditors of a failing company is the ability to challenge past transactions that sought to favour one creditor to the detriment of others. Transactions entered into by Cyprus companies that are being wound up may be voided if they constitute fraudulent preference and took place during the statutory claw-back period.

Legal framework on voluntary liquidation – an overview
  • Cyprus
  • 11 December 2020

Chapter 113(III) of the Companies Law is the main legal framework which regulates the voluntary liquidation procedure in Cyprus. There are two ways in which voluntary liquidation can be triggered: by members or creditors. This article provides an overview of the legal framework for voluntary liquidation by members and creditors, respectively.

Insolvency and restructuring from a COVID-19 perspective
  • Cyprus
  • 24 July 2020

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the government introduced a series of humanitarian and financial measures, with the latter covering insolvency and restructuring matters. Although the measures could provide much-needed breathing space for companies, they might not solve problems that existed prior to the crisis.

Examinership: protecting businesses during and after COVID-19 pandemic
  • Cyprus
  • 24 April 2020

Although it is a relatively unknown procedure, examinership may hold the key to the survival of businesses dealing with the financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Examinership can protect a business from any claims advanced against it in the short term and offer assistance in the form of an insolvency practitioner, who can devise a restructuring plan to safeguard the business's long-term survival.

Winding-up petitions: locus standi for oppressed minority shareholders
  • Cyprus
  • 06 March 2020

The Limassol District Court recently ruled that minority shareholders may file an oppression of minority petition irrespective of whether the underlying company had a positive value for making distributions to shareholders in the event of a winding up. Although this first-instance judgment carries no precedential value, it nevertheless sets the record straight with regard to petitioners' locus standi to promote oppression of minority petitions in the event of a winding up.